On line ordering and delivery for WI

MARKET producers in a village near Woodbridge are possibly the first in the country to have their own on-line ordering and delivery service.The WI Market at Martlesham Heath only opens for 90 minutes on Tuesday mornings at either the pavilion or the scout hut by the village green.

MARKET producers in a village near Woodbridge are possibly the first in the country to have their own on-line ordering and delivery service.

The WI Market at Martlesham Heath only opens for 90 minutes on Tuesday mornings at either the pavilion or the scout hut by the village green.

But now the market is branching out in an effort to make more people aware of the attractions of home-produced food and make itself available 24 hours a day.

The WI Market has a website, which is not unusual in the WI Market business, but what sets it apart is the ability for customers to have items delivered worldwide and later this month there will be on-line payment facilities.


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Customers will also be able to order through the website and collect their items or they can have them delivered in temperature-controlled cool boxes within a five-mile radius at a cost of 50p a mile with orders over £20 being delivered free.

The market also wants to set up a personalised service for patients in Ipswich Hospital and take them flowers, chocolate truffles, gifts or some home-baking.

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The WI Market nationally has a history stretching back to 1919 when the first market was set up in Lewes, Sussex, to provide gardeners with an economical outlet. They had been encouraged during the first world war to grow their own vegetables to supplement the national food supply.

There are now about 550 markets throughout England and Wales with the market at Martlesham Heath being a recent addition. It was started two-and-a-half years ago and producers give 10% of the sale price towards running costs.

But the arrival of Farmers' Markets in Suffolk and their increasing popularity is starting to provide competition for WI Markets.

Marie Whinney, Martlesham's market controller, of Playford Road, Rushmere St Andrew, said: ''Farmers' Markets are doing very well and we just felt we needed a bit of an uplift. The community around us is very good and we would not be here without them as we do not get tourists or passing trade because of where we are.''

Her 16-year-old son, Daniel Whinney, a pupil at Kesgrave High School, advised his mother that the ''way forward'' was to use the internet. The website was designed by Richard Tait, a former employee of BT, and it was looked at by between 200 and 250 people within the first week of operating.

Mrs Whinney said: ''We are quiet excited about the website and everybody here is keen on it, but it is an unknown quantity and we do not know whether we will be inundated with orders or not.''

Delicacies such as salmon with lemon and coriander, or chicken breast en croute with stilton compete for customers alongside potato layer, liver and bacon, apple crumble and other dishes.

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